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Exclusive | ‘Heartbreaking’: Jhulan Goswami Recalls World Cup Loss

In an exclusive chat with The Quint, Jhulan Goswami recalls the disappointment of losing the World Cup to England.

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It’s been a month since the Indian women’s cricket team lost the World Cup at the Lord’s – but the nine-run loss to England in the finals is hard to forget. India’s pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami, who was part of the team, cannot forget it either.

In an exclusive chat with The Quint, Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs, spoke about the disappointment, the current state of women’s cricket in Bengal, and the road ahead for the national team.

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‘Australia’s Towering Presence Did Not Intimidate Us’

In what was an unforeseen victory, India beat biggie New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the the World Cup. However, the following challenge was mightier. The Eves had to face five-time World Cup winning Australia in the semis. Fans, aware of Australia’s superiority, were dreading the outcome.

However, India broke the back of the beast and qualified for the finals. Goswami recalls how self-belief helped them counter top players like Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry.

We knew that individual performances would not take us to the top. Our main goal from the start of the tournament was team performance. The team was in sync and we were successful. We were not intimidated by Australia’s towering presence. They are a brilliant side who have won the cup five times, but nothing could be taken away from the self-belief we had.
Jhulan Goswami

The Heartbreak at Lord’s

After their defeat in the finals, a palpable sense of grief eclipsed the Indian side. An emotional Goswami, the senior-most member of a largely young squad, was seen resting her face on Mansi Joshi’s shoulder.

It was heartbreaking, to be so near to the cup, yet so far. After preparing for the cup for four years, coming so close and not finishing on top when we could have, led us to completely breakdown. Nobody could control and stabilise themselves. I cannot even describe the heartbreak

The Adulation That Followed

In a cricket-crazy nation likes ours, scornful criticism follows every loss. However, what followed was nationwide adulation despite losing the final.

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It was amazing to see the love and support we got. People tweeted about us, fans thronged the airport to receive us upon our return. When the Prime Minister felicitated us, he told us that this was the first time in India when a team that had lost was welcomed home with so much love. We felt very happy and motivated after hearing that.

“Many people now recognise us. They know us, call us. I hope this leads to a new era in women’s cricket where we can motivate young girls to take up cricket professionally,” Goswami said.

Bengal, one of the Finest States for Women’s Cricket

Home to India’s largest and the world’s second-largest cricket stadium, the Eden Gardens, West Bengal boasts of a rich history of sports culture. According to Goswami, who hails from Bengal’s Chakdaha town, the eastern state has top-notch facilities for girl cricketers.

Bengal is a very good place for women’s cricket. Several facilities are provided to a lot of girls who play cricket here. The women’s cricket set-up here is very good; everything is organised and systematic.

“This is a state where cricket is given top preference. So everything for women cricketers is also organised.”

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The Road Ahead

The Indian team is aiming to overcome their 2017 heartbreak by winning the 2018 T20 World Cup. The women’s committee will be meeting on 30 July to discuss the roadmap ahead.

We are lucky that within a year of the 2017 World Cup, we will get another chance to prove ourselves in the upcoming T20 World Cup. We will start the preparation soon.

“BCCI women’s committee will be meeting on July 30 to discuss the roadmap ahead. We also have a long domestic season coming up. So we will start the preparations in full swing very soon,” she added.

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What Next for India’s Beloved ‘Jhulan Di’?

The Chakdaha Express, as she is fondly called, wants to keep playing international cricket until she no longer feels fit. The 34-year-old, as of now, has no retirement plans.

As long as I am fit and enjoy my cricket, I will continue. The day I feel I am not enjoying and not performing, I will leave. Every day is a different day for me. The day my heart will tell me that it is time to retire, I will. But not until I am fit and enjoying the game.

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